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Donald Cook (DDG-75)

1998-

Donald Gilbert Cook (9 August 1934-8 December 1967). For additional information see http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/A-C/Cook_DG.aspx.

The first U.S. Navy ship named Donald Cook.

(DDG-75: displacement 8,960; length 505'; beam 66'; draft 32'; speed 30+ knots; complement 356; armament 1 5-inch, 2 Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for BGM-109 Tomahawks, RIM-156 SM-2MR Standards, and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine Rockets, 8 RGM-84 Harpoons (2 Mk 141 launchers), 2 Mk 15 Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS), 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, aircraft operate (but not embark) 1 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawk; class Arleigh Burke)

Donald Cook (DDG-75) was laid down on 9 July 1996 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; launched on 3 May 1997, sponsored by Mrs. Laurette G. Cook, widow of the late Col. Cook; and commissioned on 4 December 1998 at Philadelphia, Pa., Cmdr. James F. McCarthy Jr., in command.

Donald Cook (DDG-75) Ship's Seal
Donald Cook (DDG-75) Ship's Seal.

Shield

Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally used by the Navy. Red is emblematic of valor and sacrifice. The revised star denotes the Medal of Honor posthumously awarded to Col. Donald G. Cook for his spirit of sacrifice and extraordinary heroism. The gauntlet grasps a broken chain underscoring Col. Cook’s internment as a prisoner of war, during which he unselfishly put the interests of his comrades before that of his own well-being, and eventually, his life. The swords are crossed to signify the spirit of teamwork, while symbolizing the heritage of the Navy and Marine Corps. The mameluke represents Col. Cook’s service as a Marine.

 

Crest

The eagle symbolizes the principles of freedom upon which the United States’ was founded and highlights military vigilance and national defense. The tridents represent sea power and underscore Donald Cook’s Aegis firepower and the capability to conduct operations in multi-threat environments.

 

Supporters

The missiles symbolize vigilance, resolve, and battle preparedness, while suggesting Donald Cook’s vertical launch capabilities.

 

While guided missile destroyer Cole (DDG-67) refueled at Aden, Yemen, on 12 October 2000, two al-Qaeda terrorists brought an inflatable Zodiac-type speedboat that carried a bomb alongside the destroyer, port side amidships, and detonated their lethal cargo. The explosion blew a 40-foot wide hole in Cole, but the crew’s valiant damage control efforts saved her.

 

The ships that supported Cole during Operation Determined Response from 12-31 October 2000 included: amphibious assault ship Tarawa (LHA-1); dock landing ship Anchorage (LSD-36); amphibious transport dock Duluth (LPD-6); Donald Cook; guided missile frigate Hawes (FFG-53); and Military Sealift Command (MSC)-manned tug Catawba (T-ATF-168); along with Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), and British frigates Cumberland (F.85) and Marlborough (F.233).

 

Cole carried out emergent repairs and on 29 October stood out of Aden. The following day, MSC-manned heavy lift vessel Blue Marlin loaded the destroyer on board, and sailed her to Pascagoula for extensive repairs, reaching that port on 13 December.

 

Donald Cook deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom I and on 21 and 22 March 2003, she joined 29 other U.S. and British ships and submarines that fired BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against Iraqi military targets.

 

At 2034 on 18 August 2007, lookouts spotted a 20-foot boat, similar to an inflatable Zodiac and with an outboard motor but without a rigid hull, packed with 46 Sudanese, Nigerian, and Eritrean refugees, about 60 nautical miles northwest of Tarabulus, Libya. The boat sailed northerly courses en route to Italy. Donald Cook lowered two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to investigate and assist the refugees. The sailors approached warily because of the heavy odor of fuel emanating from the vessel, but determined that they could proceed and boarded and inspected the boat. The Americans evacuated the refugees to the destroyer, where they received medical attention, food and water, fresh clothes, blankets, and mattresses, and the ship’s laundry cleaned the people’s original clothing and then returned it to them. The refugee’s boat floated with six inches of fuel in her bilge and presented a hazard to navigation, so Donald Cook set the derelict ablaze with 30 7.62 millimeter rounds, and she sank in 30 minutes. The ship turned the people over to the Italian authorities.

 

A multinational force of 15 ships and 12 aircraft sank destroyer Connolly (DD-979), which had been stricken on 13 October 1998, in the Atlantic during exercise Unitas Gold (20 April-5 May 2009) on 29 April. A Colombian Eurocopter AS-555-SN Fennec, flying from frigate Almirante Padilla (FM.51), began the exercise by raking Connolly with machine gun fire. A Mexican Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105, operating from frigate Almirante Francesco Javier Mina (F.214), then fired two 2.75-inch rockets into the destroyer. Donald Cook delivered the coup de grace when she fired a RGM-84 Harpoon surface-to-surface missile into Connolly. Altogether, the attackers unloaded more than 450 rounds of ammunition, four Mk 83 bombs, one AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile, three Harpoons, two Sea Sparrows, and the two 2.75-inch rockets into Connolly. In addition, USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses stood by at Barksdale AFB La., but the firepower unleashed against the ship sufficed to send her to the bottom. 

 

During a NATO conference at Brussels, Belgium, on 5 October 2011, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced that the U.S. intended to forward deploy four Aegis-equipped ships to Rota, Spain. “By hosting these ships,” Panetta explained, “Spain will continue its vital role in enhancing the security of the European region, Mediterranean Basin, and the Atlantic Ocean. The agreement also enables the United States to provide rapid and responsive support to the U.S. Africa and U.S. Central Commands, as needed.” On 16 February 2012, Secretary of the Navy Raymond E. Mabus Jr. revealed that four guided missile destroyers would shift their home ports to Rota as the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF): Carney (DDG-64) would forward deploy from Mayport, and Donald Cook, Porter (DDG-78), and Ross (DDG-71) from Norfolk, Va. Donald Cook reached her new home port of Rota on 11 February 2014, and Ross joined her as the second of the four forward deployed ships on 16 June.

 

140211-N-ZZ999-8888
Donald Cook arrives at her new forward deployed home port of Rota, Spain, 11 February 2014. (Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., USA, Department of Defense Photograph 140211-N-ZZ999-8888, Department of Defense, http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=122023)

Donald Cook made her first FDNF deployment (14 March-25 July 2014), including a brief voyage into the Black Sea (10-24 April). On 12 April, two (apparently) unarmed Russian Sukhoi Su-24 Fencers flew near Donald Cook in the western Black Sea. The wingman flew at a higher altitude but the other jet disregarded multiple queries from Donald Cook and passed over her a dozen times, at some points approaching to within 1,000 yards of the ship. “I would have difficulty believing that two Russian pilots,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, USA, explained to journalists, “on their own, would choose to take such an action. We’ve seen the Russians conduct themselves unprofessionally and in violation of international norms in Ukraine for several months, and these continued acts of provocation and unprofessionalism do nothing to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, which we called on the Russians to do.” Donald Cook then made a three day visit to Constanta, Romania, where Romanian President Traian Bsescu toured the ship. On 23 April Donald Cook took part with guided missile frigate Taylor (FFG-50) and Romanian frigates Mărăşeşti (F.111) and Regina Maria (F.222) in a bilateral underway engagement exercise, including a simulated battle against small, fast attack craft, in the Black Sea and then came about and returned to the Mediterranean.

140412-N-KE519-099
Donald Cook approaches Military Sealift Command-manned oiler John Lenthall (T-AO-189) during an underway replenishment in the Black Sea, 12 April 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez, U.S. Navy Photograph 140412-N-KE519-099, Navy NewsStand)
140424-N-KE519-014
The ship approaches the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge over the Bosporus as she concludes her eventful sojourn in the Black Sea and passes through the Turkish Straits en route to the Aegean Sea, 24 April 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez, U.S. Navy Photograph 140424-N-KE519-014, Navy NewsStand)
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Donald Cook patrols the Mediterranean, 5 December 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Herman, U.S. Navy Photograph 141205-N-IY142-068, Navy NewsStand)
150107-N-JN664-006
A lookout braces against the wind as Donald Cook battles snow and heavy swells during a deployment to the Black Sea, 7 January 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Karolina A. Oseguera, U.S. Navy Photograph 150107-N-JN664-006, Flicker Navy News)

The Syrian regime killed at least 45 people and sickened hundreds of others in a chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria, on 7 April 2018.

“This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime,” President Donald J. Trump said during an announcement from the White House on 13 April. “The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.”

“As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad] regime,” Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis said at a Pentagon news conference on 13 April. “On April 7, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.”

On the night of 13 April, U.S., British, and French servicemembers attacked the Syrian chemical arsenal. Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White and Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, USMC, the Joint Staff director, briefed the press from the Pentagon the following day, saying that the operation appeared to be successful and that the allies did not suffer any casualties.

White said the attack on the people in Douma “demanded a response,” and the coalition consequently targeted the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons infrastructure. “We launched these strikes to limit Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons in the future,” she said. “We successfully hit every target,” White summarized.

Coalition forces struck three distinct military chemical weapons targets. “The three facilities are -- or more appropriately, were -- the fundamental components of the regime’s chemical weapons warfare infrastructure,” McKenzie observed.

The first target comprised a scientific research center near Barzah in the greater Damascus area. The military facility operated as a center for research, development, production, and testing of chemical and biological agents, the general revealed. The other targets lay in two locations near the city of Homs. The Him Shinshar chemical weapons storage facility lay west of Homs. “We assess this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment,” McKenzie said. “The third target…contained both a chemical weapons storage facility and an important command post.”

“I would use three words to describe the operation: Precise, overwhelming and effective,” the general said.

The allies fired 105 missiles at the enemy. Guided-missile cruiser Monterey (CG-61) and Laboon (DDG-58) launched a combined 37 TLAMs while steaming in the Red Sea. Higgins (DDG-76) hurled another 23 Tomahawks while sailing in the Arabian Gulf, and submarine John Warner (SSN-785) launched six UGM-109 TLAMs from the Eastern Mediterranean. Donald Cook operated in the region but did not fire weapons, according to Pentagon officials. The French Navy meanwhile released footage of their frigate Languedoc (D.653) firing three Missile De Croisière Naval (MdCNs), naval variant land attack cruise missiles.

Allied aircraft also took part in the battle, including two USAF Rockwell B-1B Lancers and their fighter escorts, along with a marine Grumman EA-6B Prowler and tankers. The Prowler helped jam enemy air defense communications and radar, while the Lancers launched 19 extended range AGM-168B Joint Air-To-Surface Standoff Munitions (JASSM-ERs). British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons and Panavia Tornado GR4s, and French Dassault Rafales and Mirage 2000s, also flew in the fighting.

Planners timed the attacks to occur during the Syrian pre-dawn hours and for all of the weapons to hit at about 0400. Gen. McKenzie noted that the missiles struck their targets within one minute of the designated strike time. The allies fired 76 missiles, numbering 57 TLAMs and 19 JASSMs, into Barzah, and photographs taken after the strikes show that the attack reduced the three buildings there to rubble. Twenty-two weapons, including nine TLAMs, eight British Storm Shadow low-observable air-launched cruise missiles, and the three French MdCNs, slammed into the Him Shinsar chemical weapons storage facility. French jets launched seven Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portèe – Emploi Général (SCALP EG — general purpose long range standoff cruise missiles) against the Him Shinsar command facility.

“None of our aircraft or missiles involved in this operation were successfully engaged by Syrian air defenses,” McKenzie said. “We have no indication that Russian air defenses were employed.” The Syrians launched surface-to-air missiles on a ballistic trajectory that missed the attackers. “Most of the launches occurred after our strike was over,” the general said. “When you shoot iron into the air without guidance, it has to come down somewhere.”

Obviously, the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis said. The strikes now send a very clear message to Syrian leaders “that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable,” the secretary reflected. “It is a time for all civilized nations to urgently unite to end the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process,” Mattis said.

Detailed history pending.

Mark L. Evans
17 April 2018

Published:Tue Apr 17 15:36:28 EDT 2018